Preparing to go charcoal location sketching

I'm preparing to go into the Lake District again and try sketching with charcoal instead of watercolours. Limiting myself to just figuring out composition and tonal values will be good practice for me! The forecast is clouds, sunshine and rain so there should be some dramatic lighting for the day as the sun comes out and it's something the Lake District captures really nicely!
My main concern is that I rarely use charcoal as a medium and I tend to over to it and get muddy values as I try to building up textures…
So as it's the night before, I'm going to get some practice in and then just give it a go tomorrow. The worst case scenario is I don't like my pictures but it'll still be a good learning experience! Plus, messy techniques are always really satisfying!!

I used charcoal pencils, a range of rubbers and some blue pastel for these sketches. I also put a wash on a couple of pieces of cartridge paper and tried a few scenes on them which worked nice but I found it kill some of the highlights that would have made the pictures come alive.

Deep breath. Drawing again.

As I breathe deeply, I can smell the clear Cumbrian air.

It’s been’s perhaps 6 months or even longer since I sat down to explore drawing. I have moved and feel inspired to try again to recapture my creative practice. I am going to work through ‘ Drawing space, form and expression’ by Wayne Enstice to get my hand moving again. There’s a lot of good grounding for the practice to take root in again and help grow my skills to where they used to be.

I will be documenting my experiments on this site under the appropriately titled page ‘Experiments’.

To begin, I will be exploring the basics of mark-making and the tensions they create within the picture frame. I’ll be using charcoal to begin with as it’s easy to vary the tone and texture, allowing me to freely play and explore.

I’m taking inspiration from the following artists:

Illustrators: